MDRC Logo MDRC with liberty and justice for allLeadership Development Opportunities (LDO) is a program of Michigan Disability Rights Coalition (MDRC) funded by the Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council to work with individuals and groups to build the leadership skills of self-advocates and increase inclusion.
Below are resources to help you develop your leadership skills and to help organizations become more inclusive of people with disabilities on their board, staff, and as volunteers and in the work they do in the community.

Leadership Skill Building Resources

Good leaders inspire us and help us manage our emotions in the process. Good leaders use emotional arguments to bring us on board and back them up with logic. Good leaders ask and inspire and nurture their followers.

You can be a good person but not an effective leader.

Good leaders have:

  1. Hope and vision that inspires—the reason for existing as a group, the plan that brings you together, They inspire through creating and maintaining resonance with the vision.
  2. Compassion—trust, caring, benevolence. Good leaders care about themselves and their members. They make people feel a part of the team and help people to use their gifts. They understand their followers and address concerns and needs. They make sure that rest, rejuvenation, recuperation, laughter, play, and joy are a part of the group. They practice their own self-compassion.
  3. Mindfulness—good leaders are authentic and genuine. They have integrity. They are attuned to their own and their group’s mind, body, spirit and heart. They practice mindfulness and grounding techniques. They know when it’s time to reconnect, time to take a deep breath, and time to dig in and persevere. They use mindfulness practices like yoga, meditation, prayer, and tai chi to stay grounded.
  4. Playfulness–good leaders know when its time to dig in and when the group needs a break and time to regroup and play. Good leaders provide support for the playfulness.

Good leaders know deeply the goal of the group and live it and bring along others as equals to accomplish it. They are in tune with the group and themselves and know when to change course.

Leadership Growth Links

Growing Your Leadership 

Identifying and Using your Leadership Strengths

Inspiring Leadership free online class

Mindful Self Compassion Links

Self Compassion explained (videos with closed captions)

Mindful Self-compassion exercises

Inclusion Resources

Information for leaders and for organizations on building inclusion and supporting full participation of people with disabilities.

With full inclusion, disability is seen as a natural and beautiful part of human diversity. There is a proactive approach; programs and organization are universally accessible because it is the way an organization works, not just for a particular person. Full inclusion is seen as a benefit to all members of the community, not just those with disabilities. Organizations that live full inclusion believe that all people have gifts and talents they bring to the organization. People with disabilities are viewed as resources and contributing members of the organization. Fully inclusive organizations have people with disabilities at all levels of organization, including the board.

Inclusive organizations have developed a circle of accountability to the disability community, which includes people with disabilities and organizations run by people with disabilities and their allies. Real inclusion creates a philosophical shift in thinking, not a new program or a set of procedures.

Inclusive organizations recognize non-disabled privilege and work on holding themselves accountable for exploring this privilege and how they can be an ally to the disability community.

Inclusive organizations recognize that people with disabilities have many identities, so to truly transform to inclusion, the organization must work on their privilege around race, culture, class, gender, sexual orientation, and other forms of oppression.

MDRC staff are ready and willing to help your organization become fully inclusive. Please visit our inclusion page for more information and contact us for support today.

Inclusion Links

Inclusion Scale

Disability Pride, History, Identity, and Culture

What is Disability Pride?

Disability History

Capitol Crawl

The Power of 504

MDRC’s Website  includes a more complete disability history timeline

Rachel Maddow’s 2017 piece on ADAPT


Disability Life & Culture focus

Inspiration porn and the objectification of disability:

Stella Young at TEDxSydney 2014

I am a Person First


Disability Justice: New Intersections Between Race, Justice & Disability

Changing the Framework: Disability Justice-How our communities can move beyond access to wholeness

When Is It Okay to Say the R-Word?

End Abuse of People with Disabilities



Ally Work


6 ways to be a better ally to people living with disabilities


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